Limas sensitive to many stresses

GARDEN Q&A

Garden Q&A

April 29, 2006|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I planted pole limas for years with wonderful yields. The past two years, the vines grew 16 feet long, had many blooms, few pods, and no beans. The soil is enriched with mulch yearly. No fertilizer was added this year. The beans are watered and in full sun.

The last two years have been especially stressful for many vegetables. Heat and/or drought can result in similar problems with lima beans. They will not pollinate when the temperature is over 90 degrees. Overly warm nights can be detrimental.

Prune your limas when they exceed the height of your trellis; attract pollinators by planting several varieties of annual flowers nearby (and avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides that can kill pollinators), and test your soil's pH. Very low or very high pH makes phosphorus unavailable to plants, and phosphorus is crucial for fruiting.

Lately we found silverfish upstairs and down. What can we use to get rid of them?

Silverfish prefer damp, cool places such as basements and under sinks. Sources of dampness, such as leaky plumbing or condensation, should be eliminated. Kitchens and pantrys should be thoroughly cleaned, and food stored in tight containers. Clean up hiding places near your house, such as lumber piles or debris. Use chemical control as a last resort. Silica-based gels and boric acid powders can be applied with squeeze bottles. Read our publication Silverfish online or call us to request a copy.

Checklist

Prune or knock out the small webs of the Eastern tent caterpillar from cherry and crabapple trees.

Where deer are feeding on garden and landscape plants, apply a repellent to vulnerable plants. Doing this early in the season may help to disrupt feeding patterns.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's hotline at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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